- A VIEW FROM THE PROJECT DESK
- IS IT TIME TO REDO YOUR KITCHEN?
- WHY REMODEL A BATHROOM?
The kitchen and bath are the most essential rooms in a home. These spaces should be comfortable and welcoming, while reflecting both the homeowner's personality and a safe and efficient design solution. I understand that the remodeling process can be quite overwhelming and confusing. From choosing a designer and selecting a style, to establishing and sticking to a budget, kitchen and bath projects can be daunting to any homeowner. To complete your project with few, if any regrets, you need to invest both your valuable money and your time. Here are a few tips on how to maximize your return on your investment:
- Put your goals and objectives for the project in writing. This will benefit both you and any allied build/design professionals you may choose to work with.
- Set a palatable budget and try to stick to it. You know what your financial resources are and you know what you are comfortable spending, hence that is your budget number.
- Take your time when you are planning out a kitchen or bath remodel and try to have all your materials selected before the first hammer swings. If you are planning on gutting the entire space then I typically recommend clients spend up to twelve months planning/designing the kitchen and up to six months for a master bathroom.
- Differentiate your needs from your wants.
- Consider resale!!!
- Keep things congruous. Expensive granite countertops typically should not be combined with inexpensive pressboard stock cabinets.
- Kick the tires. There are many “live appliance showrooms” in major cities across the US where you can actually turn on the burners of the cooktop and bake a batch of cookies in the oven.
- Avoid the temptation of buying materials/appliances well in advance of installation just because they are a “good deal”. Sales are only a real value if they are installed immediately. If they sit in the garage or in storage the warranty may run out before you get to use them.
- Get real – don’t believe those home remodel reality TV shows. Well-designed kitchens and baths cannot be remodeled in a weekend especially by a novice. So, be honest with yourself – do you really have the skillset and time to start and complete a remodel yourself?
- Assume nothing. To minimize the opportunity for misunderstandings, get everything in writing whether it is from your appliance retailer or your building/design professional.
- Consider your project's impact on the environment. There is a general misconception about the cost of environmentally friendly building materials and design practices.
- Don’t throw away your serviceable cabinets, plumbing fixtures, etc. If you don’t need extra storage capacity in your garage/basement, then consider donating your old serviceable kitchen cabinets to a local charity.
In as much as the major concern among both homeowners and realtors are kitchens and baths, I have made this a major focus of my core competency.
Many homeowners think their kitchen is outdated from the looks of their worn cabinets, dated appliances, and crackled countertop. What they may not realize is that there are many other reasons, more important than cosmetic, why a kitchen needs to be remodeled. The following are just a few things to consider:
- Adequate space - Are you satisfied with the amount of counter space, cabinet space, and floor space in your kitchen? The position of your refrigerator or the shape of your counter may be taking away useful workspace.
- Traffic flow - If there's more than one cook in your household, you may want to consider making more room around the main workspace. If you enjoy entertaining, you may want an open plan kitchen that allows for more social interaction between the kitchen and other rooms.
- Children - Depending on whether or not you have children, and their ages, your kitchen may need to be remodeled. Dated appliances and the design of your kitchen can be hazardous for young kids.
- Efficiency - If your appliances are dated, they may be costing you more money than you expect. New technological advances with dishwashers, disposals, and refrigerators could save you a considerable amount of money and maybe well worth the investment.
- Universal Design - Is your kitchen accessible to individuals with disabilities? Will you be able to use your kitchen safely as you get older? Considering these issues is vital in a kitchen to remodel.
- Location - Thinking about adding a deck to the side or back of your house? Incorporating a door into the layout of your kitchen would be a great convenience for outdoor entertaining. You also may want to rearrange the position of windows to allow more or less sunlight or to watch your children play in the yard.
Before you remodel your kitchen, make a checklist of major and minor problems and keep notes of the features you dislike and like the most. When it comes time to sit down with a qualified kitchen designer, they'll know exactly how to suit your needs, taste and style.
An expertly remodeled master bathroom will provide years of pleasure and comfort. But do an amateur job and you’ll be reminded of the fact every day. It’s a tricky space, unfortunately, with lots of moving parts crammed into a tight footprint, not to mention the volumes of water ready to exploit any and all leaks. Here are a few areas of concern:
- Setting a budget and planning ahead - These are two ways to keep your project on track.
- Budget for the unexpected - Hidden water damage is a common problem in bathrooms, whether from a leaky shower pan or running toilet.
- Take care to choose the best sink, countertop, and toilet for your space.
- Hide the toilet - A master bath that’s stylish and functional can also be discreet.
- Choose appropriate surfaces - Your master bathroom’s surfaces do more than just contribute to the overall aesthetic. They also take lots of abuse.
- Splurge on the shower - People realize that they could count on one hand how many times they actually used a tub. They now using that space to create larger showers, often with his and her showerheads, body sprays, and even steam generators.
- Consider water efficiency - Showerheads, toilets, and faucets have all become more water-efficient in recent years.
- Make room on the vanity - Since grooming is the main task at the vanity, it’s important to have plenty of surface area to put things down. While the his-and-her double sink configuration has been popular in the past, it often makes sense to have a single sink and more counter space.
- Provide adequate ventilation and light - Moisture not only breeds mold and mildew, it can take a toll on finishes and painted surfaces. A bathroom fan is the best defense. As for lighting, the goal is to bring different layers of illumination into the room. A ceiling fixture is suitable for general lighting, but it will cast shadows on your face when you’re seated at the vanity. That’s why you’ll also want sconces or other vertical fixtures mounted on either side of the vanity. Some medicine cabinets are available with vertical lighting strips. The shower and toilet should also have a dedicated task light, such as a recessed canister light. Consider fixtures that use LED bulbs. Many provided bright, even illumination in my lightbulb tests with the promise of 50,000 hours, though they do cost more. Remember to put the fixtures on dimmer switches so that light levels can be adjusted depending on the mood and task at hand.
A bath remodel is no small undertaking. So before you start tearing up the tiles and picking out the tub, get a little advice from someone who’s made bathroom makeovers their bread and butter.